Emma Hayes says Chelsea Women 'inspiring generations' ahead of Champions League final

Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes says her players are “inspiring generations” ahead of Sunday’s Champions League final against Barcelona.

Chelsea, making their debut appearance in the final, take on Barcelona in Gothenburg a week on from wrapping up a second consecutive Women’s Super League title.

The London club also remain on course for a potential quadruple this season, having retained the League Cup in March.

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Hayes was involved the last time an English club were in the Champions League final, as assistant to boss Vic Akers when Arsenal won the competition in 2007.

    “When you work hard in a project like Chelsea, the journey of getting to this point is the part of the job I love the most,” Hayes said at Saturday’s press conference.

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    “That includes the setbacks, that includes the disappointments, that includes signing new players, that includes winning and losing new things.

    “When I talk about it being a dream, it’s about being in this dressing room with these amazing women who are inspiring generations at home.

    “I’m not talking about little girls here, I’m talking about scores of boys too who are becoming big fans of women’s football, so the dream for me is about what I’ve always wanted for women’s football.

    “Being in this final after so many years with an English team not participating, I think it was about time and I’m just delighted we got the opportunity to do that.”

      ‘Chelsea will face best Barcelona side we’ve seen’

      Spanish football journalist Chantal Reyes believes Barcelona are favourites to win Sunday’s final in Gothenburg.

      Barcelona, runners-up in 2019, beat WSL opposition in Manchester City in the quarter-finals and have scored 128 goals and conceded just five in 26 Spanish top-flight matches this term.

      “They’ve been fighting for a long time to reach this level,” Reyes told Sky Sports News. “They are a team that – since they lost the 2019 Champions League final to Lyon – have improved a lot.

      “They are now one of the top teams in the world. I think this is the best [Barcelona team] we’ve seen.

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      “I think that even if they feel confident, which they do, they have pressure. In the league they were expected to win everything. Both the team and the coach Lluis Cortes had that pressure because they are expected to win everything.

        “But they are handling it well – they have their main team but also their young players are really talented. When someone is injured, they have players who can take that place.

        “They are confident to play this final because they’ve already played one and I think that experience is important.

        “Even though I think Barcelona are favourites to win the final, I don’t think Chelsea is going to be easy. It’s going to be a great final.”

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